“You’re stepping on my shadow, please back off,” she said.

Sun Yisheng / Nicky Harman

Recent Posts

Read Paper Republic: China Dispatches

By David Haysom, September 14, '18

We are delighted to announce a new series from Read Paper Republic: China Dispatches. Over the next month we will be publishing a selection of non-fiction pieces chosen from OWMagazine (单读). This will be a three-way collaboration between Paper Republic, OWMagazine, and the LARB China Channel. Each of the stories will be appearing first on the China Channel, then published here on Paper Republic one week later. We’re very excited about our initial run, which includes some of our favourite writers as well as some new voices, and we’re sure you’re going to enjoy these dispatches from different corners of China.

The first installment – “Three Sketches of Peter Hessler” by Wu Qi, translated by Luisetta Mudie – is available to read on the China Channel now!

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"Ma Bo’le’s Second Life": Goldblatt "Completes" Xiao Hong's Tale

By Bruce Humes, July 10, '18

It is well known that Howard Goldblatt did more than just translate some of Mo Yan's work; he heavily edited, even re-wrote parts of it, apparently with the author's permission. There are those who believe this is one reason why Mo Yan received the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Over at the Literary Saloon (book review), Michael Orthofer reviews Goldblatt's rendition of Xiao Hong's Ma Bo’le’s Second Life. Orthofer calls attention to "a few small-print lines on the copyright page":

The translator has completed the original unfinished work and has placed it in a contemporary context. A full explanation is given in the translator's afterward [sic].

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New Pathlight Managing Editor: Jeremy Tiang

By Eric Abrahamsen, June 21, '18

We're very pleased to announce that Jeremy Tiang is taking over as Pathlight magazine's new Managing Editor! This, er, storied position, previously held by Dave Haysom and Alice Xin Liu, involves sourcing interesting new literature and poetry from Chinese writers, and commissioning and editing excellent translations. Actually it mostly consists of cracking the whip on deadlines. We're really excited to have Jeremy on board, and look forward to some of his ideas about making Pathlight more accessible in the US, in particular. Despite his claims to never leave his Brooklyn apartment, he seems to know everyone in town.

Welcome Jeremy!

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Cultural Appropriation Update: China's Three Great Oral Epics

By Bruce Humes, March 25, '18

Speaking at length during his recent coronation ceremony, the new emperor mispronounced the name of the Tibetan epic, King Gesar, as "King Sager" (习近平把格萨尔王说成萨格尔王”).

Unsurprisingly, this news did not appear under the headline "President Hurts the Feelings of Millions of Tibetans" in The People's Daily next day.

It is significant that he mentioned two of the three ancient oral epics in his speech, King Gesar (Tibetan) and Manas (Kyrgyz). Chinese literary apparatchiks increasingly refer to them, including Jangar (Mongolian), as “China's Three Great Epics” (我国三大史诗). This despite the fact that they originated in languages other than Chinese, among non-Han peoples and in lands that were not then part of the Chinese empire.

Alerted about it via a tweet by Shawn Zhang (章闻韶), however, Victor Mair's Language Log did discuss XJP's verbal faux pas that went unreported in China mainstream media.

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